The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has cancelled on a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, citing a disagreement with Jordan over crossing its airspace.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, “ Netanyahu was expected to visit the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, but due to difficulties in coordinating his flight in Jordan’s airspace, the visit was postponed and a later date us yet to be set.”
The Hebrew-language statement said that the cancellation “apparently stemmed” from the earlier cancellation of a planned visit on Wednesday by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein to the Al-Aqsa mosque in annexed east Jerusalem by Israeli government.
The prince’s visit was called off following “a dispute over security and safety arrangements at the site,” the Israeli statement said.
There was no immediate comment from Amman.
Although, the UAE had not formally confirmed Netanyahu’s visit, neither did it state if the visit was being reviewed.
Israeli media had reported the planned visit on Wednesday, saying Netanyahu would meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Commentators deemed it as a chance for Netanyahu to flourish his diplomatic credentials ahead of Israel’s March 23 election.
Israel established formal relations with the UAE and Bahrain last September, which serves as its third and fourth normalisation deals with Arab states in more than 70 years as part of a US-brokered agreement. The three countries share common concerns about Iran.